The fear of failure, having a fear of defeat, and fear of success are all categorized under the social phobia medically known as atychiphobia. This fear is basically a persistent, abnormal, and generally irrational fear of failing at something.
Causes for Fear of Failure
What causes a person to have this phobia of fear of failure? Like most any phobia the broad-spectrum root problem often progresses from some event in the person’s childhood that triggers this feeling. This can mean having overbearing and unsupportive parents or caregivers. It can also be derived from never feeling like what they accomplished growing up was ever good enough for their parents, and because the reasons for this phobia are not clearly known, any variety of reasons could trigger a fear of failure.
About the Phobia Atychiphobia
For a person with a phobia such as fearing that they cannot successfully complete something, means that most people with this phobia will not take on a task unless they are sure they can complete it satisfactorily. If the person with atychiphobia believes that he/she cannot complete the task with perfection, then that person simply will not begin the project.
If the project, task, or whatever the event is that the fear of failure phobic faces is something that they think they cannot do perfectly but are forced to do-then panic attacks can arise in many cases. It is not unlikely that a person with this fear will, at all costs, avoid situations where there is not 100% belief in their mind that they can take on the task at hand and handle it without failure.
For some with this phobia it does not interfere with their daily lives; for others, especially those with a more serious form of the fear of failure phobia, the phobia hinders their abilities in their career, interpersonal and intimate relationships.
When the Fear of Failing Affects the Quality of Life
Having a fear of failure is something that can cause a person with it to lose a great deal of their quality of life. This type of phobia challenges its victims by not allowing them to try most new things, not to advance in their career, and oftentimes the symptoms of the fear of failure affect relationships to a point that the person loses friends and lovers.
People with a fear of failure are not alone in the phobia world, statistics show that approximately 19 million Americans suffer from some type of phobia. Most phobias have not been researched fully and with reason. There are so many phobias that to study just one would be similar to throwing away one spec of sand from the beach.
Anyone can develop a fear of something. It is when that fear begins to affect a person’s quality of life is when the fear has become out of hand and the person suffering from the phobia should seek mental help. A fear of failure, atychiphobia has been tested and researched to a certain degree and treatment plans have been laid out for those suffering from it.
If you or someone you know suffers from a fear of failure and it has impacted their daily lives in such a way that their quality of life is affected, their job is in jeopardy or their interpersonal relationships are failing, it is important to seek medical and mental health. Advances in mental health have come a long way in the area of phobias and with treatments and therapy a person can overcome their fear of failing.
For more about fear of failure or atychiphobia, see “More About Fear of Failure.”